Podcasts/Episode 175

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The Letters Page: Episode 175
Creative Process: Werewolf Stories

Original Source

Primary Topic

Intro

Bark at the moon!

Show Notes:

Run Time: 1:35:52

We start off by talking about Adam's sleep schedule, which is appropriate as this is the first episode of Adam's Birth Month! Thrilling times!

Then, we get to all the wolfs. We tell you more about a wolf you know, and a lot about a wolf you don't know yet! Where have these wolves been hiding all this time?!

At around the 45 minute mark, we get into questions! More wolf stuff there, but also some non-wolf stuff!

Join us next week for a Hero/Villain Team-Up Story! Get your questions in for that story now!

Characters Mentioned

Summary

Overview

  • Back in the Blood Magic episode (episode 44, from the first year of the podcast) they got asked about werewolf lore in the context of Sentinel Comics, and they happened to have some that they went into briefly, but the subject hasn’t really come up since.
  • Recap of the story they told back then [aided by the power of ctrl-c/ctrl-v]:
    • Long ago there was a witch out in the woods who had a pet wolf that she loved. One day, she found that a woodsman had killed him and so she cursed him, changing him into a wolf - upon doing so this new wolf (which was once a man) became her new companion. However, in the curse, there was enough man still in him that in the full moon he’d change back into a man. By the first time this happened they’d been sharing each others’ company and he found when he became a man again that he was in love with her. One thing led to another during their time during the full moons and eventually they had a child, although the child was cursed as well. He was half wolf and half human and was the first werewolf.
    • So, in Sentinel Comics werewolves are these half-man/half-wolf beings who can look mostly human, but not quite 100% - they’re hairy and have strange pupils, but not so much that you’d call them out as being unnatural. Similarly, they can change at will into a “wolf” form, but it’s not quite right as a wolf either - they’re bigger and can operate on two legs if necessary. Also, when in their wolf forms they’re at risk of losing themselves to their feral instincts (and in times of stress they’re more likely to change to the wolf form instinctively), so they can be pretty unstable. However, in the light of a full moon they have to change to the wolf form and become completely feral. Generally, this means that they’ve got to do something proactively to keep themselves contained somewhere before the full moon (even the evil ones who don’t mind killing people see the danger of being on the lose completely wild as they’re more likely to be caught). Additionally, all werewolves are sterile, despite a desire to procreate. So, the curse is passed on through biting people. Some werewolves will intentionally bite children to thereby gain a child of their own.
  • So, how much of the witch legend is true? Who knows, but that’s how they describe things again here and it’s still pretty much fine because they haven’t really done anything with werewolves since then other than creating Apex the Wolf-king in the Dark Watch Villains episode. Well, aside from even before Apex was a thing they invented a werewolf hero that they’ve been incredibly quiet about in the expectation that there would eventually be a relevant Creative Process to fill in the details. That would be today!
  • Back in October 1950 we had Tome of the Bizarre vol. 1 #15 - the first appearance of Wolf-Woman. As befitting volume 1’s genre, this was more of a straight-up horror story about a werewolf. She appears to be a normal woman walking amongst us, but in the light of a full moon she becomes a monster and kills people, etc. Standard-fare for Golden Age horror comics. Readers liked the story, so she had a few other appearances in TotB over the years - to the point where they actually had room to explore her character a little.
  • In October ’74, Wolf-Woman is released as its own title. It stars Tammy Taft as this normal college-aged woman who does normal stuff trying to live her life. She also turns into a wolf. She’s presented as more of a hero now with a heavy-handed “yeah she was thought to be a monster, but is trying to do good, etc” stuff justifying her earlier appearances. She’s not so much a “fight supervillains” kind of hero, but she tries to use her wolf “powers” to stop crime or help people escape danger.
  • She’s very much a product of the era - comics companies were starting to bristle under the Comics Code Authority’s strictures and were pushing whatever boundaries that they could. One such is that she probably couldn’t be referred to as a “werewolf”. [One of the CCA’s rules reads “Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited”].
    • Adam mentions the case of a writer, Marv Wolfman, whose name presented a problem [the CCA board rejected a story that had interstitial matter stating that it was told by “a wandering Wolfman” - after an explanation that it was the story’s author’s actual name, they were allowed to keep it if he was given proper credit as the author, which opened the floodgates to other writers and artists getting printed credit as well, which hadn’t been the case prior to that.]
  • The Wolf-Woman book winds up running 50 issues, until November ’78. Something they wanted to do with the meta-fiction here was creating a character that had some modest success, but didn’t actually wind up making that big of an impact/had a lot of false starts. There was the “monster” period in the ’50s, this book in the 70s with her as a hero of sorts, and then (other than maybe the occasional appearance here and there) is mostly off the radar for about a decade.
  • In October ‘88 she crops up again in another solo book (as a proper, no foolin’ this time) as the hero Alpha. Being that it’s the ’80s, it’s a bit of a darker book, but it does retain some of that “trying to maintain her normal life/job while juggling the curse” angle. A notable angle of her book is that, among other things, she hunts werewolves. She knows they’re biting children to “procreate” and she’s out to stop them.
  • The “myth” of where werewolves come from and how they work likely got told (and probably in a NightMist story) some time between the end of Wolf-Woman and the beginning of Alpha, so this is the first real chance she has had a story where that context regarding werewolves’ origins and how more are made (largely against the will of every person who’s ever become a werewolf) was present.
  • Now she’s in her mid-30s and is a full-time professional reporter as her day job. She’s now Tabitha Taft (“Tammy” can be a nickname for Tabitha, but this wasn’t her established name prior to this) and this book also gets into the different degrees of her wolfishness. Some characters who have known her for a long time might call her Tammy occasionally, but she dislikes it and prefers Tabitha.
  • Anyway, she’s got her day job that keeps her busy, general heroics fighting werewolves and other criminals that keeps her even busier, and the whole “curse management” thing every month. She’s got a set of silver shackles that she uses to restrain herself in her basement during the full moon.
  • The Alpha book runs 89 issues, ending in Februrary ’96 (the same month that Greazer ends). It’s a tumultuous time for Sentinel Comics. A new editor-in-chief started just the year prior, but the company is in dire straits financially and are about to go into bankruptcy and get a whole new management team. Alpha was one of the casualties of this period.
  • That’s not to say that the character goes away. Alpha still shows up as a hero who has embraced both halves of her nature by this point - to the extent that if you now asked her if she would like to get rid of the curse, she’d probably have to say no. Her comfort with both halves of her being puts her in something of a unique position; most werewolves either wish they weren’t and so stay human as much as they can or they embrace the wolf and leave their humanity behind. Since she balances between, she’s actually got a lot finer control over her ability to change between forms than most. Like, she can lean into the wolf side just a little bit to tap into the better senses or a little extra strength without actually doing a full shape shift (although the more she brings online at a time the more lupine she gets).
  • Anyway, once Alpha ends she’s back to cameo appearances for another few years until October 2000 when it’s relaunched as Alpha 2000 (y’know, because the year 2000 is futuristic and junk). It’s edgy, it’s action-packed, it can get pretty bloody, and they introduce some controversial elements to the character (i.e. some of the worst decisions possible - some editorial people sign off on it, the creative team makes their best effort, but nobody enjoys it):
    • Some mad scientist introduces the concept of Wolf-Tek and so Alpha is something of a cyborg in this outing. “Cyborg” might actually be going too far. She doesn’t have things installed in/on her body, but she has a bunch of gear that she uses in her wolf form.
    • They haven’t really described her to this point. Tabitha Taft has rather light blonde hair and so during a change sequence before you often had the darker brown or black of the wolf coloring coming through and replacing her human hair. Alpha 2000, on the other hand, retains some of the blonde coloring in wolf form (“She’s kind of got an ombré. It’s so bad.”)
  • This new book is meant to be the new vision of how this character is from now on. They had plotted out story lines to last years and had commissioned writers/artists to work on it. It lasts 9 issues. By issue #5 they knew that things were not going well and tried some weird course corrections, but nothing could save this train wreck. It ends mid-story with no fanfare - it’s just done.
  • She continues to show up here and there as a minor side-character, but one that still has some goodwill with readers. In October 2006, she gets a limited series, Alpha: The Lost Years. This starts back in her youth when she was first changed into a werewolf and establishes a lot more details about her life back then, and introduced more lore about werewolves in general that hadn’t been established prior to this. She lives with a group of werewolves for a time and sees how terrible they are. There’s a big, scary, leader guy (named Alpha) who was the one who turned her and explains what they do (how many humans they kill vs. just biting/turning, etc.) - by the end of the series Tammy rips out his throat to become the new Alpha of the pack, which she disbands, although she keeps the name.
  • That series is well-regarded and even won some awards. On this basis (along with some pop-culture help in the form of things like Twilight making werewolves marketable), in October 2008 Alpha: the Wolf-Woman starts (technically vol. 4 as Wolf-Woman, Alpha, and Alpha 2000 were considered the same book). Apex the Wolf-king shows up a bunch in this series. It’s got a lot in common in terms of theme and direction with the ’80s Alpha book, but better written and it does well enough to run up through the end of the Multiverse era, ending with issue #100 in January ’17. [Ooooh, so that’s the/one of the titles that Christopher has almost slipped and named in a few past episodes.]
  • This book was one of the more mass-marketable comics titles in the era. It was technically in-continuity with the superhero stuff, but for the most part she’s just doing her own thing fighting her own foes. There was a notable crossover with NightMist about halfway through the run and cameos happen in both directions (her showing up in other books, other heroes occasionally showing up in hers), but generally if you’re reading Alpha: the Wolf-Woman it makes sense on its own without needing to bring in other titles.
  • Okay, so that’s what they already have for her. What is left to do a creative process for? Maybe a bit more on why she can control things so well and why she’s important to Apex. There is disagreement on this:
  • Adam’s idea is that in the Alpha: The Lost Years book we learn that she is a natural-born werewolf. It makes her unique and one of the stories about Apex will involve his attempts to create natural werewolves and so she could be important to him for that reason. It would require changing the new-to-us, but apparently previously pretty settled idea that the first Alpha was the one who turned her.
  • Christopher points out that part of the story with Apex is that his “natural” werewolves were seen as abominations and he doesn’t want to associate her with that stigma. Adam asks who sees them that way: “regular people and some other werewolves”, which Adam counters by pointing out that regular people likely see all werewolves as abominations. Christopher’s option to tie Alpha to Apex is that during her time with that original pack, maybe she was the one who turned Apex - that’s a bit less interesting, but it could work.
  • Coming back to the natural werewolf thing - knowing that it could be done but not knowing how it was done could be something that could actually be interesting to explore. Talking it through so Christopher has something he likes that doesn’t disturb the backstory they’ve already got for her: maybe Alpha is her father and her mom is just a normal human. The Lost Years book doesn’t acknowledge that Alpha is her biological dad, just that she was a “normal” girl living with her mom without a father around, a werewolf kills her mom and abducts her, she wakes up in a werewolf den and is now a werewolf herself. That’s how things are established in that book.
  • The major story with Apex gets going in 2010 and it’s in that story that the truth is revealed - that the things she’s been hunting as part of that story are more like her than she realized, which introduces a nice crisis of identity for her. There we go - they like the reveal as having been a retcon as well as being something that was a secret not just from the readers, but from her as well. Like, she’s come to term with her humanity and her lycanthropy and accepts both, then finding out that she’s all werewolf - that’s fun and can also be used as a justification for why she has such fine control as well.
  • Now that they’ve worked that out, what is her relationship to Apex? Maybe he’s a really old werewolf. That could even let him be the one that turned the first Alpha and is thus her “grandfather” - the guy he turned then actually produced her as a natural child. Apex doesn’t know what he did and, because she killed the guy, Apex can’t ask him which really frustrates him in his plans. Him constantly addressing her as “granddaughter” with her denying that this is an accurate description of their relationship is also fun.
  • Getting into issue placement: issue #130-147 of Dark Watch is the “werewolf arc” [April 2010 through September 2011] and Apex the Wolf-king is the main villain and a major component of it involves his attempts to create “natural” werewolves. Issue #135 would therefore represent the end of the first 6-issue arc there and makes sense as a good place for the revelation of Alpha’s nature to come in. This all crosses over with her own book in a lot of places as well across issues #19-36.
  • How does he go about it? Does he have “werewolf scientists” trying to create viable embryos in a lab somewhere? Well, “werewolf science” would probably actually be magic in some way and we already know that Apex has some access to Blood Magic stuff through connections with the Court of Blood (remember the “advisor” who’s really there to keep tabs on him for Blood Countess Bathory - maybe more Blood Mages get involved for this specific project). The thing is that he’s coming at this from two directions. Blood Mages doing magical nonsense to get it to work and also werewolves in labs trying to science their way into it.
  • That Dark Watch/Alpha: the Wolf-Woman crossover has Apex generally doing bad stuff, but also this specific plan that’s an attempt to create an army without the need to involve outsiders (in the form of humans that they turn). Werewolves are stronger, faster, generally “better” than humans, but as things stand they can’t just kill all of the humans and take over because then they’d be unable to maintain a population. If they can figure out how to procreate on their own, there’s nothing stopping them from just wiping humanity out.
  • There we go - they finally got to talk about this stuff. They’re looking forward to the eventual Writers Room involving Alpha considering how many issues they’ve established for her.

Questions

  • You mentioned in the Dark Watch Villains episode that Apex was either powered by Blood Magic or created by it, what powers does this give him? Is it just a matter of being strong/fast/tough/regenerative? Can he control his own form to crank these things up on his own? Can he use Blood Magic directly to attack others or augment his minions? Good news! He is a werewolf who has been augmented by Blood Magic and he can use it. Everything you mentioned is on the table. He’s less likely to (but still can) directly attack with Blood Magic as he’s a wolf and fights like a wolf should fight, but he’s already a vicious beast in combat and is fine with just buffing himself to even greater heights in that regard.
  • Is his vampire handler somebody we already know about? What are they and their relationship with Apex like? Were they a werewolf before getting vampirized? Does he resent their presence or count them as part of the “pack”? Do they help against Dark Watch? They haven’t really delved into a lot of details here yet. He sees them as a “leash”, but he also thinks that he’s smarter than them while, simultaneously, they think they’re smarter than Apex - there’s a constant “getting one over on the other” going on between them while still maintaining a facade of cooperation and friendliness until the sudden but inevitable betrayal. The vampire isn’t one we’ve seen yet (although possibly not a new character for the readers of Sentinel Comics). She’s not particularly powerful, but she doesn’t need to be for her role there as this very out-of-place vampire in a pack of werewolves. The vampires are also building in a Blood Magic backdoor into the project that Apex have them helping with. Like, if the time comes that this army of natural werewolves becomes more of a hassle than they’re worth, the vampires can just activate a built-in Blood Magic kill-switch (which has also likely been set up as a fail-safe mechanism in the rest of them too). They’ll get around to naming her later, though.
  • What happens to Apex and his handler in the end of the arc? If Apex is captured, how does one deal with a huge, angry, werewolf, blood mage? Does he escape and slink back to the Court of Blood to wind up as a more-or-less literal guard dog until they find better use for him? Man… that’s got to be a Writer’s Room, but which issue could that even be since it’s such a big deal? DW #147 probably? It’s a big event with ongoing ramifications for Dark Watch, Alpha, and the Court of Blood, but they’re not going to get into it here. They have the major story beats down, but not the details yet and it’s too big to try to hash out here. The end of that story is not the end of werewolves.
  • When did we first start seeing werewolves introduced in Sentinel Comics? In real comics history they first started showing up in the late ’30s, and so could have encountered Grandpa Legacy, although they probably would have been more suited to Arcane Tales and fighting Ra and Haka, right? The first Wolf-Woman story in Tome of the Bizarre volume 1 #15 is likely the earliest. That’s likely the book where it was going to happen, and issue #15 is pretty early. If they’re used before that in any capacity, it would likely be in books that are now considered non-canonical. Even so, the other likely candidate is Shudder! and that didn’t start up until ’51 (after that issue of TotB in ’50).
  • Were werewolves kept primarily as villains early on or did they try to make one a hero? They were mostly monsters/villains early on but they did try to make one of them a hero… Anyway, there are probably more “bad” ones that show up between Wolf-Woman’s first appearance and when she gets her own book (and she herself still shows up in other titles even when she doesn’t have an active book of her own). They’re not particularly common antagonists, but probably more common than, say, gorgons.
  • When was the history of werewolves you discussed in the Blood Magic episode revealed? Any particular reason given for the animosity between werewolves and vampires? Like they said earlier today, the history was told sometime between the Wolf-Woman and Alpha books, but let’s place that real quick. It was probably intended as a bit of setup for the upcoming Alpha book - like, they do this story, have a bunch of villain werewolves around for a story, then reintroduce Ms. Taft. Let’s put it relatively close to the latter in NightMist #37, June ’88.
  • What was special about Apex the Wolf-king that the Court of Blood assigned a vampire to watch him? Was it to help or just to keep him from going after vampires generally? He’s special in that he’s the biggest, strongest werewolf and is seen by a lot of them as the leader. He goes to the Court of Blood to get their help with his goal of being the leader of all werewolves. In exchange, once he’s in charge he can stop the werewolves from getting into conflicts with vampires. He’s proposing an alliance and Blood Countess has no problems with him thinking that they’re allies. From her perspective this dog has wandered in off the street and asked her to put a collar and leash on it.
  • Was Apex an ongoing villain or more just involved with the one story? If ongoing, who was his primary opposition? What was his ultimate goal in facing the heroes? He was recurring. There was definitely a Prime Wardens story involving him at one point along with the big Dark Watch arc. Alpha is obviously a major one as well, now that we know about her. They don’t know offhand if he would have fought the Freedom Five. His goal is to kill all the humans/turn all the humans, which is only possible if they figure out a way to procreate without baseline humans around. The Prime Wardens thing was explicitly about him trying to turn some/all of them - getting a werewolf that has superpowers in addition to the werewolf stuff would be great (and if he could figure out how to get those powered werewolves to be able to produce offspring of their own, etc.).
  • Did any werewolves defect from Apex to help the heroes? If so, did any stick around as a hero afterwards? Would any defectors warn the heroes about full moons, etc.? They don’t think that any of Apex’s pack defects. When he’s defeated most just duck out anyway, but they’re also mainly just generic minions rather than having distinct characterization of their own. There’s Apex, his vampire handler, the werewolf mages and scientists working the project, and maybe a few lieutenants - beyond that already fairly substantial cast, there’s just “the pack”. The pack are there because Apex is the biggest and strongest. If he’s defeated, there’s no reason for them to follow him. All of that being said, there’s probably a bunch of examples from Alpha’s various books where she was going off to hunt this random werewolf who turned out to not be evil.
  • Do eclipses have any special significance/effects on werewolves? That’s a fun question. Lunar eclipses are when the Earth casts a shadow on the full moon, which detracts from the moon’s power maybe and so doesn’t do anything for them. A solar eclipse is the moon showing its dominance over the sun, though, so maybe that could power them up? It’s actually probably more likely that an eclipse is just a time of more powerful Blood Magic generally, which might benefit either werewolves or vampires.
  • Are there any werewolves that fight OblivAeon (like Apex)? Alpha does, Apex doesn’t.
  • How many heroes have (temporarily) turned into werewolves over the years? Oh, that’s definitely happened. There’s probably even an entire spinoff reality where everyone got turned, so have fun with that. It’s such a gimme that it likely doesn’t even get a full Disparation story, instead getting a panel or two in a story that’s showing off a bunch of different alt realities in a row for some reason. They can see there being a story where somebody gets bitten, somebody does some magic/science stuff to stabilize them, and then they’re just also a werewolf on top of their usual shtick for a year or two until it gets resolved.
  • There’s got to be some parallel in the Metaverse to the time in the ’90s when Marvel made Captain America into a werewolf for a bit, right (like, Setback, with his glorious ’90s hairstyle, bumbles into becoming one and then lucks into a cure somehow)? Setback definitely doesn’t because if was going to it would have been in the big werewolf arc. At worst, he or somebody else gets bitten and then NightMist magics it away before it becomes a problem. Or, it could be fun for there being a situation where “oh no, the whole team is going to get turned” and then they find ways to avoid it by the end of the issue (Mr. Fixer is just already dead so the werewolf bites him and it does nothing).
    • This does bring up a point, though - and Christopher mentions a recent discussion regarding times when a fan says “what if [x]?” and the guys just roll with it and incorporate it into the story. The ’90s were a time where comics often tried to push non-edgy characters into this edgy space. They have a good candidate for this treatment, but one they have to be really careful with: Haka. Edgy Haka can very quickly just slide over into “savage killer guy”, so they have to have a light touch. If anybody can “get better” from being a werewolf, it’s Haka, but having him having to actually deal with “the beast within” pushing him in that savage direction is an excuse for that edgy stuff, so sure. There’s some story in the ’90s where Haka becomes a werewolf for a bit.
  • Who was Orthus, the man with two wolf heads (mentioned in the Blood Magic episode)? They think they needed a nemesis for somebody for Villains of the Multiverse. Between the art and the story they didn’t really have anything to do with him - he was just kind of “meh”. Adam thinks that Christopher just asked him to draw a werewolf with two heads and so he drew him in a swamp and with a woman being scared by him. They looked at it and just decided that they didn’t like him and so moved on to something else. They wanted to do something with werewolves, but this wasn’t the right direction.
  • [First letter in the American Folklore follow-up section is about further detail/correction about Goffe and Whalley (and their co-conspirator John Dixwell) hiding in a cave near New Haven, CT and not near Cambridge or Boston like Christopher said. Additionally this isn’t the first time you’ve slighted New Haven - in an earlier episode you were talking about pizza - you wondered if Legacy would prefer the deep dish style from his Chicago childhood or New York style more fitting with his east-coast home in Megalopolis. You’ve established that this city is in Connecticut and New Haven, in addition to its major university, is known for its own style of pizza! As such, it should have been a serious contender for Legacy’s favorite style.] Sure, that pizza thing sounds reasonable. It certainly can’t be worse than St. Louis style pizza, which is just the worst thing in the world. Legacy definitely loves New Haven-style. Is it his favorite? Maybe. Who knows. But he loves it for sure. Adam and Christopher both apologize on behalf of the podcast for the disservice that it’s done to New Haven over the years.
  • [Historian writing in, disappointed by the lack of Joshua Norton, aka the Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.] That’s some good stuff - people should read that Wikipedia article. [Regarding Emperor Norton and comics - he was actually featured in an issue of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. Good stuff.]
  • [Historian continues - if you’re going to have a story involving Joseph Parsons and the Swamp Fox, please make Francis Marion a villain. “The guy was slime and a brutal slave-owner, even by the standards of the day.”] Christopher had done some research on him since the tall tales episode and you’re right, but most pop-culture depictions of him are complimentary. What probably happened was that in the Golden or Silver Age, there were stories involving him in that “Revolutionary Hero” light, but it’s only in a much more recent depiction (in the ’00s, ’10s, or later) that there’s time travel or something and we see how bad he was. Like, not even as a “continuation” of those earlier appearances - the wholly positive light shown on him there would be ignored for our purposes here as they’re “setting the record straight” on him. The main point is that if Sentinel Comics stories feature him, when that issue happened determines how favorable his treatment on the page would be. This brings up a very strange detail about their job with this whole fake comics thing - due to their efforts at verisimilitude, they can know this kind of detail, but that doesn’t change the fact that stories told about the Swamp Fox in the ’40s or ’50s would not have shown his brutality as a slave owner. Current knowledge might make them shy away from telling a story involving a given historical figure at all, but if they do, they do so based on what people would have known at the time.
  • Having been in the process of going through old episodes and listening to the Argent Adept episode and American Folklore episodes in quick succession - was Little Boy Blue a Virtuoso of the Void? Christopher says no, Adam says yes. After they laugh a bit they don’t want to rule it out. Christopher points out that it has been “a long time” since there had been a Virtuoso, but I note that the nursery rhyme goes back to at least 1744, possibly earlier [and that sounds like it could be long enough to be a rough contemporary of Franz Vogel at the least and would definitely predate the fiddle player that Akash'Bhuta kills in the 1800s]. There’s not a story about that - maybe some passing thing in Disparation or simply a panel or two talking about Virtuosos. Even if so, the horn he blew would have been destroyed by now.
  • Who is more likely to interrupt a monologuing adversary to get a hit in and how long would they bother waiting before doing so: Legacy of Destruction or Iron Legacy? Iron Legacy. Legacy of Destruction is just a villain (well, Iron Legacy is a villain too, but coming at things from a much different direction) and loves a good monologue. Iron Legacy doesn’t have time/patience for your nonsense.
  • When designing Wager Master, were there any ideas that you scrapped for being “too out there”? Ideas for stories, not so much. Rules, yeah because they threw a bunch of stuff at the wall to see what sticks (“Everybody has to get up and change seats” and other real-world/meta stuff that was nonsensical). “Definitive Wager Master is going to be a trip.” - Christopher
  • As a new GM for SCRPG I’m still trying to find the line between minor and major twists - if my players generate 5 minor twists and 2 major ones in a scene, how many would you recommend are taken from the “stock” twist ideas in the book? Their first go-to is player-story twists - if you wind up with all being those, that’s not bad. If you wind up with all book twists things feel less personal - they’re there to help spark ideas for the sorts of things you can do and to stand in for cases when players can’t think of a good personal one in the moment. That being said - often an adventure Issue or a pre-written Environment might have some story/location-specific ones you are meant to use to fill out the scene to make it feel complete, and those are generally fair game.
  • On Wager Master’s “Pick a Card, Pick a Fate” we see him holding playing cards with some heroes’ faces on them - which other heroes would be featured on the face cards of that deck (we already know King of Spades is Haka, King of Clubs is Ra, Queen of Hearts is Tachyon, and Queen of Diamonds is NightMist - at a guess Guise and Wager Master are the jokers)? Two things real quick - first, we don’t see the rest of the cards anyway. Second, WM’s holding the cards, Guise would be on both jokers. In the hypothetical where they were designing a deck of cards from scratch, they might not use the characters depicted on the cards we see them on. Sticking with those to just fill things out:
  • [Science of Dinosaurs News: Tyrannosaurus Rex hunted in packs! I’ll give Adam a pass on scientifically-inaccurate drawings of T. Rex if Christopher also writes scientifically-inaccurate game text since a “T. Rex Pack” sounds terrifying.] Okay, that’s cool. That’s a good one. Here’s the thing, the dinosaurs on Insula Primalis don’t look/act like the prehistoric ones because they’ve had 65+ million years’ worth of time to evolve different appearances/behaviors. They also work by “Jurassic Park rules” as far as the dinosaurs go just because that’s the pop-cultural expectations of dinosaurs when those comics were done [I note here in 2021 when these new things about T. Rex are being described, Insula Primalis’ dinosaurs are now also partially Void Spirit, so all bets are off in terms of “realism”.]